SYCAMORE – Leonard Ebright says everyone knows him simply by his nickname: Windy.
Ebright, who was born and raised in Sycamore, has been a barber in the area since 1956. He currently works at Woody’s Barber Shop on State Street in downtown Sycamore. He recently spoke with reporter Jessi Haish about his time in the barber business.
Haish: How did you get your start?
Ebright: Many years ago I went to barber school in Chicago and got my basic part of my training there. Then I had an apprentice program and got my registered license and have been a barber ever since.
Haish: When did you start working as a barber?
Ebright: I was born and raised in Sycamore, and I’ve worked in Sycamore as a barber since 1956. When I started I was in the hotel up here, the [Jane] Fargo hotel. From there, I went over to what was then, right straight across from the vet’s club. When the guy there retired, I ran the business myself. From there, I went up around the corner to DiMarzio’s building. Then I decided I was going to retire, and that was fine for the summer.
The closer we got into fall and then winter, I knew I didn’t want to sit around and watch TV all winter. So there was another barber here in town. He had a place in Florida that he went to so I made an arrangement with him. I worked his shop in the wintertime while he was away and I took the summers off. Then Matt Wood got his license and got the shop about three years ago and wanted me over here. The guy I was working for sold his place in Florida so he started working year round and I wouldn’t have had a place to work, so I came over here. I’ve been here two years.
Haish: What do you enjoy about your work?
Ebright: I enjoy the people, the conversations with them, giving people a hard time and getting a hard time back.
Haish: What has kept you in Sycamore your entire life?
Ebright: I grew up here and I don’t care about big town livin’. My family is from here. My dad worked 30 years at the post office, my mother was a homemaker. I’m the only one left in the family. That’s about it, but that’s enough.
Haish: How did you get the name Windy?
Ebright: When I first started barbering, when I started my apprenticeship with a registered barber, he started that out. I was always quiet, not always, but he started calling me Windy and it just stuck. Most people don’t even know my given name. Just put down Windy, they’ll know who it is. And they will.